Sunday, August 17, 2008

Obama & McCain in Faith Forum for Christian Voters

Last night, Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain were interviewed at the Saddleback Church by Sr. Pastor Rick Warren (author of A Purpose Driven Life) on CNN. The Christian evangelical audience was treated to two hour long one-on-one interviews of the two presidential nominees by the pastor of the church. Both candidates were more or less asked the same questions and were given as much time as necessary to respond.

The event was moderated by Rick Warren, the author of the best-selling "The Purpose Driven Life" and one of the country's most prominent evangelical preachers. Warren, a Southern Baptist, referred to both McCain and Obama as friends in his introductions. "They both care deeply about America," Warren said. "They're both patriots."

The evening was painted as a portrait of contrast: where Obama was thoughtful, humble, and measured in his responses; McCain was direct, arrogant, and very definitive. Obama delivered shades of gray and nuance. McCain was simplistic, very black-and-white in his responses.
The candidates were asked questions in the following areas:
  • Greatest Moral Failing (Personal & United States)
    • Obama response: He expounded on his selfishness and concern for self during his youth (personal) and the government's tendency to forget the least of us (US).
    • McCain reponse: The failure of his first marriage (personal) and Americans haven't done enough to serve others (US).

  • Faith in Jesus
    • Obama response: He talked about leaning on the wisdom of Jesus and using his faith to help make decisions.
    • McCain reponse: When he was a POW in Viet Nam, apparently one of the guards was a Christian; he cited two examples of this guard demonstrating their shared faith.

  • Three Wisest People for Advise
    • Obama response: Obama chose his wife, Michelle; his grandmother; and a group of politicians that included former senator Sam Nunn, a Democrat from Georgia, and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK).
    • McCain reponse: McCain chose named General David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq; Meg Whitman, a campaign adviser; and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), an Obama supporter whom McCain praised for his courage during the civil rights movement.

  • Definition of Marriage
    • Obama response: Union between a man and a woman, but agrees with the states' right to create civil unions for same-sex couples. "I can afford those civil rights to others even if I don't have ... that view."
    • McCain reponse: Union between a man and a woman... PERIOD!

  • Stance on Abortion
    • Obama response: Pro-choice, not pro-abortion. He offered probably his most nuanced answer to this question, where he believes that work should be done to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies that lead to abortion.
    • McCain reponse: Pro-life, believes that life begins at conception... "I will be a pro-life president."

  • Use of Stem Cell Research
    • Obama response: Supports stem cell research using embryonic cells that are slated to be destroyed, but favors finding other "less controversial" methods, as well.
    • McCain reponse: Although, he believes life begins at conception, he supports the use of embryonic cells for stem cell research... confusion?

  • How to Deal with Evil
    • Obama response: He believes that evil can be found everywhere and it must be understood before it can be confronted. Once again, he balanced evil in Dafur with evil that is found right here in the United States!
    • McCain reponse: He fell into "stump speech mode" and only talked about bringing Osama bin Laden to justice (even if it takes him to the gates of Hell) as if that is the ONLY EVIL in the world - but this did lead to the biggest applause line of the evening.

  • What Supreme Court Justices Should Not Have Selected
    • Obama response: Clarence Thomas ("I don't think he was a strong enough jurist or a legal thinker at the time for that. I profoundly disagree with his interpretation of the Constitution."), Antonin Scalia (because he doesn't agree with his politics), but he had praise for Chief Justice John Roberts.
    • McCain reponse: He rattled off the four liberal justices (Ginsburg, Breyer, Souter, and Stephens) without much explanation... went into a short diatribe about legislating from the Bench (old Republican sound bite).

Read the coverage about the about Faith Forum here and here.

Read the Jack Cafferty review, from, of John McCain's performance here.

Read the Washington Post article about the Faith Forum here.

Andrew Sullivan did a live blog of the Obama and McCain interviews.

plez sez: this was easily the most thought provoking and revealing look at the presumptive Democratic and Republican nominees for president. neither candidate dodged the questions, but both candidates varied greatly in the way that they approached answering the questions. and i feel, both offered a keen insight into the way they would approach issues that will undoubtedly crop up during their administration.

Obama was thoughtful, measured, deliberate, and quite humble in his approach. he didn't rely on cliche', didn't go after sound bites. his answers were well-thought and analytical... and in many cases, he offered both sides of an issue for consideration.

on the other hand, McCain played directly to the markedly conservative audience and leaned heavily on sound bite answers to questions. a number of his answer were so short, that the moderator had time to ask him additional questions that he did not ask of Obama.

i watched the program with plezWife; we both came away with the same assessment: Barack Obama is far and away the best person for leading this country forward, because his lack of jingoism and extreme arrogance allows him the ability to think through issues without promulgating and playing petty politics with serious issues. in stark contrast, McCain's performance was chilling in his hardline views, short snappy answers, and total lack of introspection. at no point during the entire hour interview, did john mccain once stop and take a long hard look at himself, humble himself, and then offer a thought-provoking response (i.e. his greatest moral failing was that his first marriage came to an end - he offered no thoughts as to why, nor did he even take part of the responsibility for it... as he put it, the marriage came to an end... PERIOD).

more than ever, the united states would be creating a GRAVE ERROR by voting john mccain into the white house. he exhibited the same "cowboy attitude" that precipitated the 5-year war in iraq, he leaned on the same "evil button" as george w. bush (terrorism, al-qaeda, and osama bin laden), and provided little or no insight into how he thinks. the thought of a mccain administration following 8 years of george w. bush SCARES ME!

plezWorld feels that anyone who thinks that john mccain will improve the united states is delusional. VOTE FOR BARACK OBAMA... the world depends on it!


tom said...

This election does seem like a no-brainer, but that's exactly what's got me worried!

plez... said...

my wife and i talked about this at length last night during the interviews and during the "talking heads" analysis on CNN.

i was surprised that they were as "impressed" with McCain's performance. he re-hashed OLD STORIES that he's told hundreds of times, rattled off talking points and sound bites as if he were on auto-pilot, and one a few instances, he responded before even hearing the question (my wife believes that he was given the questions beforehand)!

since this was not a debate with one or two minutes for a response, i was hoping that McCain would spend more time going through his thought process and WHY he felt the way he did. the "talking heads" appears to be impressed with his obviously memorized answers and shallow discussion.

and that prison guard story was so contrived it almost made me PUKE! since they were willing to let him go (because of his father's high ranking in the US military), maybe they decided to go alittle easier on him during his captivity... i wonder if this same guard helped out the other captured US troops who were also christian?!? i guess in John McCain's simplistic world view, some "yellow Viet Cong gooks" would never think of doing such a thing!

i wonder if john mccain hopes that a sympathetic US soldier offered some relief and tolerance to those Iraqis who were tortured in Abu Grahib or those Afghan rebels being water boarded at Guantanomo?

even though he was a bit long-winded at times, i must say that it was a treat to finally have a candidate talk from the heart without pandering to a specific political group like Obama did. especially when he talked about the dilemma of his stance on abortion or how he reconciled his support of civil unions for same-sex couples. or how about his nuanced explanation for his drug & alcohol use during his youth? or his wonderful answer about evil and how it exists everywhere... even right here in the US of A (it's easy to see the speck in your neighbor's eye, but you can't see that big ass log in yours!).

when the show went off, i wondered aloud... "how could ANYONE find a reason NOT to vote for Barack Obama?" i don't agree with everything he says (i didn't agree with his FISA vote and he has proposed a lot of federal programs), but i like the way he thinks and i respect the humilty that he presents.

i have no doubt that a john mccain presidency will see the US engaging in more armed conflicts around the globe (he probably would've wanted to send combat troops - if he could find them - into soviet georgia)! YES... john mccain scares me!

Stuck in my head said...

I too thought that it was a no brainer after seeing the forum. And then they had Pat f-ing Buchanan talking for a bit after the show along with some other super conservatives who went ahead and praised McCain for being more candid and more real and more relaxed during the forum. I guess that group sees a lack of thought and a lack of true introspection and seriousness as a sign of a good man. Despite his lack of ability to fully answer questions, I guess they felt that he was "on their side". WTF?!

If McCain wins, I will seriously be so pissed off that I will not know what to do to contain the anger.

Keith said...

Preaching to the choir, Frat..I'm with you 100% here. I beleive that
the difference in Obama and Mccains
remarks also shows the contrast in
generations and how both generations tend to view the world,
all the more reason to go for a new
outlook and approach...
OBAMA in 08!!!!!